Ever wonder about your favorite character from a book? Want to know more about them? What makes them tick, laugh, cry? What do they drink or eat. Do they like to exercise? Over the next few months, once a week, I will explore with you some of my characters from various books. When an author sits down to begin a story, some of us know next to nothing about the characters we are about to develop, but by books end we should know everything. This is not to say that the reader will know everything, but we the authors will and must. I had the good fortune to attend Antioch Writers Workshop last summer and one of the exercises that was repeated by a few of the presenters included knowing your characters. Questions like, what do they eat for breakfast? What do they like to drink? What’s they’re favorite color and if they could go or do anything, what would it be.
I thought for my followers it might be interesting to tell you what I know about my characters. Let you really get to know them like I do. The debate for me is which character to start with and my other thought is, how much to tell. Some of a character’s flaws are part of and come out in the story, as it develops.
I will start with Alex, the main character in one of my books .
Born Alex Carver Secaku, the daughter of a high ranking Air Force officer, she dropped the Secaku upon joining the military because she wanted anonymity. She has one sibling, a twin. When asked if they are identical Alex said, “It’d be bad enough if I looked like my brother minus any color, but I don’t even have that luxury.” Does she have a nickname? No. When asked if Alex is short for anything, she answered, “Alex, it’s short for Alex.” After graduating salutatorian from high school, she joined the Army. While serving her four years, she saw two tours of combat and earned a degree in English and law enforcement. When she was recruited into the Department of Justice (DOJ) as an apprehension agent, she received an honorable discharge from the Army.
With white blonde hair, pale blue eyes and a chest that men notice, Alex has always found respect hard to earn both in the military and the DOJ. In response to the bimbo comments, Alex decided to dye her hair red and frequently wears cloths that do nothing to accentuate her curvaceous body. She’s often found in tailored suits or combat boots, fatigues and a t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Neither ashamed or unaware of the effect she has on men, more during a case, she wants their attention on her brains not her buns. She’ll get their minds on her needs when the case is solved, the night before they head home.
Alex is a coffeeholic, at least when out in the field. She believes that coffee is the one and only food group. When in house, she is a consummate athlete who treats her body as a temple and exercises to extreme. For breakfast she’ll have an apple and a run, returning for eggs. With long legs and thin build, she’s built for endurance and very agile. She also enjoys Jujitsu and likes to wind down with Yoga while listening to mystical music. One of Alex’s hard learned rules gave rise to her mantra, “work and home,” with the distinction pointed out by motioning with her hands one side to the other. Like so much, Alex does that to extremes. Any co-worker who met her off the job, would be hard pressed to pair that Alex with who they know her to be. At work she is all hard edges and by the book. The cases, fugitives, come first,. She will track her man/woman doggedly and almost always wins.
When it comes to personal life, for several years she’s been in a committed relationship with a woman, Elaine. During a low point, Alex was suicidal and it was Elaine who saved her. She’s her life preserver. Is she a lesbian? Alex explains that sex isn’t the basis of the relationship, life is. Soft spoken at home, she avoids conflict and thinks the perfect night of romance is a home cooked meal and to curl up with a good book Elaine nestled in her arms. Her and Elaine spend much of their time together cooking and exploring new recipes, on long weekends they enjoy hiking in the parks of Maryland and Virginia. As for the clothes she wears when not at work, loose jeans and a button front shirt.
What books does Alex like to read? Well, now that depends on what’s going on in her life. When at home with Elaine, frequently it’s a cozy mystery, she keeps the romance books in the night stand out of sight. If you ask her co-workers what she reads, they think she’s a conspiracy theorist, with books by David Badalcci and the like. Her favorite fictional hero being Oliver Stone. Or she lives and breathes murder with the various cop procedural fiction.
Alex isn’t obsessed with technology. She uses what the department gives her, cell phone, laptop, but doesn’t own her own. If the department didn’t supply her with the beat up old Dodge, she’d be driving her grandmother’s vintage Morgan. She can drive just about anything with wheels and fly any helicopter in the Army’s arsenal.
Favorite sayings, work and home. Favorite words, Christ, which she uses as her only swear word, generally. What makes Alex cry? quit a lot but she rarely shows anyone her vulnerabilities, willingly. Is she afraid of the dark? Not so much the dark, but of being alone in the dark. She loves thunderstorms. As for other fears, her biggest fear is that she’ll suffer the same mental illness her mother does.
Does she hate anyone? Only her father which basically answers the question of family relations. Her brother died during an undercover operation while in service to his country. The last of her family, an uncle, for any number of reasons she’s not seen in years. Does she believe in God or have a religious affiliation? That’s a little tougher to answer. She doesn’t believe a benevolent God would allow the atrocities she’s seen first hand. Brought up a Catholic by a father who never practiced what was preached, she’s turned to her grandmother’s Native American beliefs.
We all have secrets and Alex has more than most, which she doesn’t share with anyone. As for lying, she quit adept at it, not comfortable with it, but more than willing if it keeps her secrets. Growing up in a military family, competition was a main stay and she learned after years of trying, that besting your competition doesn’t always equate to winning.
On the lighter side, Alex is always up for a good laugh, slap stick. Laurel and Hardy, Jerry Lewis, Dick Van Dyke, the classics, modern day has produced Jim Carrey, but he isn’t quit the same. Never allowed to have a pet, Alex wouldn’t be averse to a dog, with their warm tongues and unconditional love.
Alex is a complicated, complex characters with lots of flaws, secrets, and hidden truths.